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Verisimilitude of Wireless Audio: Bluetooth 5.0

Bluetooth 5 Logo

Bluetooth technology is a godsend for many who seeks to minimize the wire clutter from the digital lifestyle. The jack-less smartphone design which was first led by Apple with a number of other smartphone manufacturers following suit has been a catalyst for the adoption of Bluetooth headphones.

While it can be said that those who shun Bluetooth, are hard-core audiophiles. An issue that has plagued Bluetooth headphones has been sound quality. It is true that Bluetooth headphones are not quite up to par with their wired counterparts, even though there have been noticeable improvements over the years.

What is Bluetooth?

Invented by Ericsson in 1994 and named after 10th-century king Harald Bluetooth, who united Denmark’s tribes into a single kingdom. Bluetooth is a wireless connection standard intended to connect disparate devices and facilitate data transfer over short distances.

Established in 1999 by founding members Ericsson, IBM, Intel, Nokia and Toshiba. The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) is an industry body that oversees and promotes the development of Bluetooth as a whole.

Bluetooth 5.0

The Bluetooth Core Specification has been updated to 5.0 on December 2016 by SIG, two years after its last iterative update of the Bluetooth 4.2 in December 2014.

The Bluetooth 5.0 specifications extend the functionality set provided by Bluetooth 4.2, the new specification quadruples the wireless transmission range which means Bluetooth devices can work up to 260 feet away from each other, a great jump from the 30 feet previously supported by Bluetooth 4.2.

The new specification also boosts the broadcast messaging ability by 800% and doubles the data speed capacity, allowing supported devices to transfer data up to 2 Mbps. A transfer speed which is more than enough to support Hi-Res audio, providing a glimmer of hope for Audiophiles like me.

Bluetooth for Hi-Res Audio

The concept of Hi-Res audio is not new and has been advocated by companies like Qualcomm and Sony via their codecs namely aptX and LDAC. For more about aptX HD which supports Hi-Res audio, kindly read our article on Verisimilitude of Wireless Audio: aptX HD.

With both specifications and codecs ready for Hi-Res audio, the potential of better sound quality is greatly enhanced. I, for one, is not a fan of the Bluetooth technology, even so for its use in my day-to-day audio enjoyment. A higher-fidelity Bluetooth headphone might, however, make me fall in love with Bluetooth.

Goh Beng Yeow
Goh Beng Yeow
Goh Beng Yeow, the Founder / Editor at Porta-Fi™, is a recipient of the IT Youth Award in Singapore. Twice nominated for EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, Beng Yeow has previously founded startups such as PDALive.com, Coded Pixels Consultants and was a Tech writer for TODAY, a national daily newspaper under MediaCorp. Since 2017, he has been writing, editing and producing commentaries, interviews, news and reviews on Porta-Fi™. In 2019, Beng Yeow was appointed Advisor to LHDC™, the industry's latest low latency and high-definition Bluetooth audio codec.

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